The first shipment of Afghan pine nuts for 2022 arrived in China on January 10, as the war-torn country’s envoy to Beijing walked away from his post, leaving a note to say he and other embassy staff had not been paid for months, South China Morning Post reported.
China and Afghanistan restarted the “pine nut corridor” in late October, part of an agreement reached with the previous government os President Ashraf Ghani in 2018 to allow direct air transport of the nuts to the Chinese market.
Beijing has not recognized the interim Taliban government and said it will not be the first to do so, but it has expressed concerns over the huge challenges facing the country, with around US$9 billion in Afghan assets frozen by the US.
Sabawoon Ahmadzai, who is in charge of cargo charters for Afghan private airline Kam Air, said about 45 tonnes of pine nuts were on board the cargo flight to Shanghai, the report said.
According to aid agencies, more than 22 million Afghans will face severe food shortages in Afghanistan this winter. Without overseas assistance, a humanitarian catastrophe threatens.